CDC warns of salmonella outbreak in turkey, won't name food producers

We're just a few days away from Thanksgiving, but that turkey on your table might not be as appetizing for some next week.

The CDC is warning consumers about an ongoing outbreak of salmonella linked to raw turkey, but still not willing to name the food producers involved.

Now, there is mounting pressure for the government to be upfront with consumers.

The USDA doesn't consider it fair to producers considering the outbreak has been so long and so widespread.

They're trying to track the tainted turkey back to its source, but the question remains: Is this fair to consumers?

“This is one of these outbreaks that is so troubling to me, because I don’t have good advice,” said Minneapolis Attorney Ryan Osterholm.

Osterholm specializes in food poisoning cases and has had several clients in the past year sickened from salmonella-tainted turkey, including a 5-year-old in Minnesota.

“I think we need to look long and hard at where these turkeys are coming from,” Osterholm said.

One week ago, the USDA updated the salmonella outbreak. The outbreak is now in 35 states and has left 164 people sickened, 63 hospitalized and one death.

Tuesday, the Center for Science in the Public Interest called on the USDA to name the suppliers. Wednesday, consumer reports did the same. It’s a 1-year-old outbreak just one week before Thanksgiving.

“They know which producers have been implicated in outbreak cases, yet they are unwilling to tell the public who they are,” said Osterholm.

The USDA says they know of 22 products from seven turkey processors.

The USDA won’t name them because they haven’t identified a single source for where those turkeys originated, calling it “irresponsible and reckless to associate producers at this point.”

If the government won’t name names, Osterholm thinks the companies, in good faith, should name themselves.

“It’s not a good idea to poison your customers and in the end, it does not end well,” he said.

Turkey is safe as long as it's cooked properly, but a number of these poisonings have come from cross-contamination, in which the raw turkey comes in contact with other foods, utensils or countertops. So, it's important to pay close attention to what you're doing before you cook the turkey.